We are moving the Chain Reaction blog to chainreactiononline

This is for two main reasons.

Firstly – the new site is prettier (see for yourself).
Secondly – the url here has ‘2008’ in the title, and as it hasn’t been 2008 for nearly a year its probably best we move on!

We will keep this site up for nostalgia / archive reasons – but all new posts will be at chainreactiononline

See you there!


Guest blogger:  Hannah Candassamy, The British Youth Council

BYC Young Reporters at Chain Reaction 2009Along with two other people, I was given the opportunity to take the on the role of social reporter and represent the British Youth Council at this year’s chain reaction event. After last year’s success and the excitement that it generated, especially from BYC interns who attended the event, I was looking forward to participating in a day that is all about social change and effective ideas.

“Connect, Collaborate, Commit” was the slogan of the event and these actions were encouraged throughout the day, making it a beneficial and rewarding experience. Usually networking at big events, means slyly squeezing in a few minutes to cheekily talk to an important person and indeed this quick form of networking was celebrated during ‘speed networking’, but the light hearted approach to this activity meant that attendees were able to meet lots of different people and casually talk about their interests, projects they were involved in and the support that they needed. I was able to talk to lots of different people throughout the day who I wouldn’t normally come into contact with and this is part of the success of Chain Reaction.

I attended the ‘Campaigning for Social Change’ session and was really impressed with the variety of knowledge and experience in the room. Young people played a big part in this session in both contributing to discussion and with two of the speakers on the panel, being young campaigners. The way that they had put together their campaigns and were actively orchestrating change in their community was hugely impressive. Certain people in the general public who have a wholly negative attitude towards youth, should attend Chain Reaction and see how these young people are inspiring adults with their energy and clarity, especially on issues such as gang culture and gun & knife crime.

In the main room of the impressive venue at Canary Wharf, I was able to sit in on numerous sessions with a wide variety of speakers and each one presented a different avenue for social change. The one unifying point mentioned throughout, was the importance of community and the need to strengthen the ties that we have with people and to establish new connections. I am pursuing a career in international development and Chain Reaction has reminded me that no matter where your campaign or project is taking place, you should always be aware of what is going on around you and to also notice the highs & lows of people who are a bit closer to home.

Connect with Hannah on the Chain Reaction Network >>>

Got a Chain Reaction Experience to share?  Sign up to the Chain Reaction network (its quick and free) and tell us about it >>>

At the Chain Reaction 2009 event this year, we involved young people from Community Links in making a film of the event – which was shown at the end of the day.  (Read our previous blog about it here)This was an ambitious task, as many of the young people had not had any experience of using the equipment or of filming an event before.  However, the young reporter team were supported by professional cameraman David Akinsanya, and the Big V Bus team who worked with them throughout the day to shoot, edit and present their film.

Big thanks to the whole team for producing the film below (We would love to hear what you think!).  Next, the Community Links youth team will be editing all of the footage from each session at the event, and creating a feature length film – watch this space for furthur details!

Much of the activity at Chain Reaction 2009 was very practical and hands-on; contributors explainined  succesful projects and shared innovative ideas. Yet there was still time to step back and consider the bigger picture.

As participants reconvened after lunch Director of the Young Foundation Geoff Mulgan, a member of the Council on Social Action, spoke about “Fixing the Future”. A thoughtful analysis outlining the opportunities that come in the wake of finacial crisis. Geoff reflected on the emerging expectations of  willing citizens who hunger for active participation in civic life; no longer content to be passive consumers. 

Geoff concluded by calling on participants to make the most of the opportunities arising out of crisis and to “animate and enthuse” a movement to “fix the future”.

Conversations started at Chain Reaction are developing; Julian Dobson has written about Geoff Mulgan’s presentation on his blog and the sharing of ideas continues on the Online Network. Be a participant – tell us what you think.

Part of this presentation is included in the video below

Chain Reaction is based on the idea that sustainable solutions are best achieved when people with different skills co-operate together. Delegates at conventional conferences often talk about the importance of networking, however too often this is a result of a chance encounter in the queue for coffee. One of the special things about a Chain Reaction event is that we work to ensure people connect with each other: the crucial first stage that leads to our Connect, Collaborate Commit sequence. 

Before and after the event the online network ensures conversations can be developed and continued. Our Connect desk helps participants hook up with others who share an interest and have an idea to work together. We provide an open space area where self-organised sessions enable participants to develop the event agenda … oh and we serve coffee all day, so there is no need to queue!

Another key feature is the very popular speed networking sessions which were run again this year by Oli Barrett member of the Council on Social Action. In this video, from Social Reporter David Wilcox, Oli explains and demonstrates Speed Networking.

The Chain Reaction team would be happy to share what we have learned about facilitated networking – If you would like to ensure your event makes the most of the combined abilities in the room contact us for a chat .

As I write, people are already wending their way across London, converging on Canary Wharf for Chain Reaction 2009. Over a hundred young people have dragged themselves out of bed, spurred on by the thought of what they can achieve today, who they can meet, and what an experience it’ll be. They’ll be interviewing celebrities, facilitating sessions, and making films in minutes. Two hundred and fifty others, from charity, government, business, and local authorities will be joining them to connect and collaborate with others passionate about social change.

Meanwhile Major Phil Packer is making his way over to give the keynote speech. Martha Lane Fox, Tessa Jowell MP, and Angela Smith MP are all speaking in different sessions at the same time, although they’re not on until 11.00. By lunchtime we’ll have heard from Geoff Mulgan from the Young Foundation, and had the chance to pitch a new idea for the chance of winning £5000 of UnLtd funding.

In the afternoon, Nick Hurd MP, Vincenzo Russell from Kiva, and Michael Green author of Philanthrocapitalism, will all be discussing ideas for financing social change. And charities worried about their own finance will be able to drop in on the Social Investment Business for a bit of advice. Meanwhile there’ll be a social media surgery all day, over 20 workshops on all aspects of social change, speed networking, and unlimited tea and coffee. Excellent.

If you’re reading this it means you’re probably not tackling the London traffic on your way to Canary Wharf. It’s a shame you can’t make it, but luckily there are still plenty of ways you can get involved. You can follow the event on twitter (@cr_event or #cr09), keep an eye on this blog, and watch the live feed all day. And if you’re reading this at Chain Reaction, go and find someone interesting to talk to, there are plenty around.

No, this isn’t the beginning of a joke – this is the Chain Reaction 2009 event which takes place on Thursday 12 November 2009.

This year,  over 400 people from the worlds of business, community and government, will gather together in the heart of Canary Wharf to connect with each other, collaborate on developing new ideas, and commit to taking change forward.

Throughout the day there will be thought provoking speeches from activists and business leaders, insights from senior Cabinet Ministers, interactive workshops, participatory panel sessions, and self organised group discussions.  

Everything that happens at Chain Reaction 2009 will be blogged, tweeted, photographed or filmed so that – whether you can make it to the event or not – you can follow and participate in activity that happens at Chain Reaction 2009 online.  

Here’s how:    


The official Chain Reaction event twitter stream is @cr_event – so follow this stream for updates on activity as it happens.  You can follow the tweetings of attendees at Chain Reaction on the CR09 Attendeees List

The official hashtag for the event is #cr09 – use this in your tweets to join in the conversation on the big screens at the event

Please also make sure that you are following @NFPtweetup and using the hashtag #nfptweetup for updates from the evening NFPtweetup event that takes place at Chain Reaction.



Certain sessions at the event will be Live Streamed courtesy of Noonan Media.  You can watch live streamed sessions on the Chain Reaction website, on our Network, or on Facebook – check back on the 12th for details of what is going to be streamed and when! 

Vox pops, interviews and video will also be uploaded to our YouTube channel throughout the day



All photos from the event will be uploaded to our Flickr Stream If you are at the event and are taking your own pictures, please tag them with CR09 or CHAINREACTION2009



Our team of social reporters will be updating the Chain Reactino Blog throughout the day, so check back here for updates!  You will also be able to view blog posts from the Chain Reaction community on our network

If you are blogging about the event yourself, please use the tags CR09 or CHAINREACTION2009

Paper-bagAt Chain Reaction, delegates are invited to participate in a fast-paced, intricate exploration of poverty, its causes, and the ways you or your organisation can join the fight against it! 

For one session only at Chain Reaction, Global Hand will offer a look into the pressures faced by those in poverty, through a hands-on, experiential activity.

Participants try to earn enough to survive by making paper bags out of newspaper and home made glue. They must earn enough to pay for rent, food, sanitation, medical needs and, if they are fortunate, education. Those that cannot make it end up in the hands of a loan shark. This game throws participants into the hopelessness and intricacy of the poverty web.

Ben Solanky, who will be leading this workshop at the event says;

“While only a reflection of a harsher reality, this simulation will offer fresh insights for those who have not lived beneath the complex web of poverty, and provides a unique platform for the solution-based discussion that will follow”

This session is not to be missed, and takes place in the Blue Space at 11:15 on Thursday 12 November.  For more information on the Basti Life Simulation please contact Global Hand at ukoffice@globalhand.org

By Gloria Abramoff, See the Difference

Pressure, pressure, pressure! It would be easier to organize a North West London bar mitzvah, where the competition is high and the expectations are great, but – at least – I know how to show off in front of my family and friends.

They call me ‘the talent’ for See The Difference. But it’s not my talent that I’m bringing to ‘the party’ next Thursday 12 November. It’s my passion; my firm belief in this movement. This is the story that charts Dominic Vallely’s passion. Dominic (or Dom to his friends) left the BBC some 3 years ago. He was the deputy Controller of BBC2 and developed formats like Strictly and Apprentice. But now,  he’s taken that knowledge, that experience and done some good. He has led this idea for almost 3 years and I can’t let him down by doing one duff workshop. So, no pressure – yea, right!

See The Difference is a one stop site that connects the donor to the charity through creative video story telling. In recent months, it’s become one of the most read stories on Third Sector Online and a buzz has been created, living up to our vision to create a movement. 300 people, 75 pioneering charities, 50 corporates and over 1000 Facebook friends; we want to tell you this story. There’ll be no gimmicks, no belly dancers or klezmer bands or cute cup cakes, but you’ll go away thinking ‘what a clever idea; I promise you! And the great thing is, it’s not just an idea, it’s actually happening!!!

See the Difference will be holding a lunch time session at Chain Reaction where Gloria will tell the story behind See The Difference & advise charitable organisations how they can get involved.  

One of the workshops at Chain Reaction is going to be all about campaigning. Maeve McGoldrick, one of the speakers, explains what she’ll be talking about…

The workshop will also hear from Liam Barrington of Bush NCVO, Muna Hassan from Uprising, & Young advisors from the Department for Communities and Local Government.

Chain Reaction is a unique and challenging project based on a very simple idea - that none of us on our own can change the world, not governments, not businesses, not charities. We succeed when we work together www.chain-reaction.org

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